Sex After Hip Surgery: Advice That Patients May Not Receive

Neil Chesanow


November 30, 2015

Discussing Sex With THR Patients

While surveys show that THR patients generally want their surgeons to discuss what they can and can't do sexually after their procedures, it's one thing to respond to anonymous questionnaires; it's often quite another to have a face-to-face discussion about such a delicate subject with one's doctor.

"Some patients tell me they are embarrassed to ask me about it, but they shouldn’t be," Dr Luu reflects. "It’s a normal question."

Sometimes patients are embarrassed to discuss sex, "but when you bring it up as a physician and a professional, and you have the discussion in a professional way, it removes a lot of that awkwardness," Dr Lajam says. "But sometimes one partner will want that question addressed, and sometimes you have to be a little careful. You don’t want to tell the patient's partner, 'Sure, he or she can have sex--go right ahead,' when the patient is not feeling that they’re ready for that."

"You need to say, 'It’s safe whenever he or she feels comfortable,'" Dr Lajam adds. "You certainly don’t want to start before the patient is comfortable, because they may have a problem. You need make it clear to the patient's partner that it’s up to the patient when they wish to resume sexual activity. You don’t want a partner to pressure the patient into doing things before they're ready."

Neither Dr Lajam nor Dr Luu are reticent to discuss sex with their THR patients, nor do they perceive any reticence among their colleagues.

Whether female doctors find it easier than male doctors to have such discussions is moot in the case of orthopedists. "There are very few female orthopedists," Dr Lajam points out, and almost none who do total joints. As for myself, I'm pretty open about talking about sex. That's why I put illustrations of sexual positions on my website. I want patients to know that it's okay to talk to me about that. We can all use a little push to be more forthcoming and try to start that conversation ourselves so that people aren't embarrassed."